Interval - Definition with Examples

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Interval Games

Elapsed time
Elapsed Time

Find out how much time has passed between two events and find out the time that will be after after an interval.

Covers Common Core Curriculum 3.MD.1Play Now

What is an Interval?

How are the two lines different? 

different two lines

What is the difference between the emergency flashing light of an ambulance and its headlamp?

difference between lights

The headlamps flash continuously. However, the emergency flashing lights flash at intervals.

Continuous means without any gap, whereas interval means with gaps.

Let us see what a time interval is:

Suppose you are walking from your home to your school. You walk continuously and reach school in 10 minutes. 

interval example 1

Now, while walking back home, you get tired and decide to sit for 2 minutes. You stop for 2 minutes and then again start walking towards home. So, we say you took a time interval of 2 minutes while walking back home. 

interval example 2

Surely, you would have to take more time to reach home as you took an interval.

Let us see another example to understand the interval:

When a car moves continuously on the road, it has to stop on approaching a red street light. However, if the street light is green, the car would continue moving without having to stop. 

interval example 3

Time Interval:

The time interval can be defined as the time between two events.

We can show time intervals on a timeline.

time interval

Here, the timeline shows intervals of 1 hour.

We can find the time between events using intervals.

For example, Sam started playing soccer at 4:30 pm. He finished the game at 6:00 pm. For how long did he play?

We can draw a timeline as:

time interval example

The interval from 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm is half an hour. Then, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm is an hour. So, that makes it an hour and a half. Sam played soccer for one and a half hours.

  Fun Facts

  • The word interval is derived from Latin “Inter” meaning “between” and “vallum” meaning “space between ramparts (space between protective walls of a castle)”.

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